With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, my google reader seems to be spitting out hundreds of recipes for Colcannon.
And for good reason. This Irish dish is not only easy to make, it is also quite tasty. It’s composed of two of my most favorite foods: kale and mashed potatoes. Sometimes the kale is replaced with cabbage (or is it the other way around?). It makes no difference to me… I am still smitten. Really, any cruciferous veggie mixed with mashed potatoes is sure to win my heart.
This recipe is just an elaboration on the popular dish. It’s basically colcannon topped with a whiskey marinated tofu, fragrant toasted walnuts, and a decadent mushroom gravy. Altogether, it makes a killer main course.
I’ve always been fairly indifferent to St. Patrick’s Day as celebrated here in the USA. I’ve never been much of a bar-hopper, and now that I have children, even if I had the urge to do so, I’d have to hassle with a sitter, and then we’d have a curfew–and well, it’s just much more fun for me to snuggle up next to my hubby and sip green beer in our cozy living room. Maybe watch Leprechaun or something.
Anyways, the whole time I was making this, I kept thinking how wonderful this casserole would be for a holiday dinner… like Thanksgiving. Or any holiday where there’s some sort of feast involved.
St. Patty’s Day? Yep, that’ll do.
So this year, I’m declaring Colcannon Casserole as our family’s official St. Patrick’s day celebration meal… complete with a few (gluten free) green beers. Now that’s a tradition I can get behind 100%.
It takes a bit of elbow grease* and a whole lotta ingredients to get this thing put together, but it’s well worth the effort if you’re a fan of the green stuff + mashed potatoes like I am.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Colcannon Casserole ~ Vegan & Gluten Free
makes 8 servings
Ingredients for Tofu Marinade:
- 1 block Twin Oaks tofu (or other super extra firm tofu… this stuff is the best, though. ever.)
- 1 leek, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tbsp of your favorite Irish whiskey
- 3 tbsp wheat free tamari, soy sauce, or Bragg’s liquid aminos
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 3/4 cup boiling water
- 2 vegetable bouillon cubes, any flavor, unsalted
- 1 small drop liquid smoke
- 1/2 cup white grape juice or apple juice
- 2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (optional)
- 2 tbsp organic sugar
Directions for Tofu:
Drain tofu very well and slice thinly into whatever shape you desire… strips, squares, or even rip it into pieces. Arrange tofu in deep sided dish for marinating. It’s okay to stack tofus on top of each other. Combine the rest of marinade ingredients into large mason jar. (I dissolved the bouillon into boiling water before combining with the rest of the ingredients.)
Cap tightly and shake vigorously to mix all ingredients. Pour over tofu and let marinate for a few hours… if you place it in fridge, the olive oil may solidify, so just be sure to rotate the fu’s to keep the oil from separating.
Once tofu is nicely saturated with flavor, place tofu pieces carefully into cast iron skillet, or nonstick pan, and pour marinade over tofu. Let tofu cook over medium heat until browned on one side, stirring the veggies from the marinade occasionally so they do not burn. Most liquid should be cooked away when they are nearing the end of their cooking time.
Flip tofus and let cook until browned on opposite side.
Ingredients for Colcannon:
For the Mashed Potatoes
- 3 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled & cut into 1″ sections
- 3-5 tbsp vegan margarine
- 4 tbsp non-dairy milk
- sea salt and pepper to taste
For the Kale
- 7 cups chopped fresh kale, any variety
- 3 shallots, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup Non-Dairy Milk
- 2 dashes sea salt
Directions for Colcannon:
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Carefully drop in potatoes. Reduce heat slightly and allow water to come back to a rolling boil. Cook potatoes for about 12 minutes, or until fork tender. Drain well.
In large mixing bowl, combine cooked potatoes with margarine. Mix well (I generally set my electric mixer on its highest setting) and mix until creamy. Add in non-dairy milk until desired consistency is reached. Salt to taste.
In large skillet or saucepan, combine kale, shallots, garlic, 1/2 cup non-dairy milk and sea salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until all liquid has been absorbed and kale is tender. This should take about 15 minutes.
Stir cooked kale and all the goodness from the pan into the mashed potatoes.
Walnut Topping (well, technically it’s under gravy):
- 1 1/4 cups crushed walnuts
Preheat oven to 400 °F. Arrange crushed walnuts in single layer on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in oven for about 10 minutes, or until fragrant.
Ingredients for Mushroom Gravy:
- 8 oz. or 2 cups white mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
- 1/4 cup sorghum flour
- 3-4 tbsp vegan margarine
- 2-3 cups additional liquid, either non-dairy milk, vegetable broth or water
- salt to taste
- black pepper
Directions for Gravy:
In saucepan, combine mushrooms, garlic and non-dairy milk. Cook over medium heat until almost all liquid has been absorbed, stirring often.
Scoot mushrooms to the side of the pan, and place margarine and sorghum flour into pan next to mushrooms. Stir melting margarine and flour together to make a thick paste (roux). Use a whisk to mix in about 2 cups additional non-dairy milk or veggie broth, being sure to remove any lumps. Cook over medium heat until gravy thickens. If it becomes too thick, add more liquid. I think I ended up using about 3 cups liquid, total. Salt to taste and sprinkle with black pepper.
Assembly of Colcannon Casserole:
Spread colcannon evenly into casserole dish.
Layer top with cooked tofu and then sprinkle liberally with toasted walnuts.
Smother with gravy.
Broil in oven for a few minutes if you feel so inclined… that will make it more casserole-like than just being placed in a casserole dish. ;)
Or serve on a plate, de-constructed.
*I really think it’s the cooking of all ingredients at once, along with the planning involved in this dish, that makes it seem like a good deal of effort is involved. It’s really not that bad.
It kind of gives you the same feeling as completing a section of an exhaustive Thanksgiving feast. And, in my and my husband’s opinion, it is well worth it.
Here are the steps I like to use to make this recipe:
Step 1: Night before, marinate tofu.
Step 2: Next day, make mashed potatoes. While potatoes are cooking, or your waiting for water to boil, begin making kale.
Step 3: Continue cooking kale while keeping a watchful eye on your potatoes.
Step 4: Finish mashed potatoes and combine with cooked kale, place in large casserole dish.
Step 5: Cook tofu in pan, layer on top of colcannon.
Step 6: Begin making gravy while simultaneously roasting walnuts.
Step 7: Once gravy has thickened, walnuts should be done. Layer walnuts on top of tofu, and either top with gravy in the dish or before serving individual plates.
Step 8: Eat!